Number 217!

Adding new sightings to my Newstead list happens infrequently these days. I’ve been sitting on No 216 (Common Greenshank) since Xmas, but have been especially on the lookout for other new waders on the drying mudflats at Cairn Curran.

On Friday night, where Joyce’s Creek enters the storage, I spotted a pale, slender wader poking about in the shallows in the company of some Black-winged Stilts. Somewhat like a small Greenshank, I immediately plumped for Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis – aptly also known as the Little Greenshank. I sent some images to a trusted advisor who confirmed the identification. One thing that struck me from some brief flight observations was how the legs protruded well beyond the tail – a useful diagnostic feature it seems.


Marsh Sandpiper, Cairn Curran @ Joyce’s Creek, 5th February 2015.


A dodgy flight shot showing the straight needle-shaped bill, white rump and back, and finely barred tail.

The Marsh Sandpiper is another of those northern hemisphere waders to visit Australia over summer. Good numbers have been reported over recent months in southern Victoria – 80+ were recently observed at the Western Treatment Plant. Their preferred habitat is described as ‘permanent or ephemeral wetlands of varying salinity, including swamps, lagoons, billabongs, saltpans, saltmarshes, estuaries, pools on inundated floodplains, and intertidal mudflats and also regularly at sewage farms and saltworks’. The species breeds in areas extending from eastern Europe to eastern Siberia, in places such as Russia, Mongolia and China. Apparently most birds spend the non-breeding period in Africa and Indian subcontinent, with smaller numbers having their ‘summer holidays’ in Australia.

A delight to see one in Newstead!

Click here to learn more about the Marsh Sandpiper.

2 responses to “Number 217!

  1. There have been 20 to 40 Marsh Sandpipers at Hird Swamp, near Kerang, the last few times I’ve been there since Jan 20th, along with 100s of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and a small number of Greenshank. This swamp is drying out rapidly and I image the Sandpipers will move on soon, I wonder if more will show up at Cairn Curran. I liked the info in the post on the similarity of Marsh Sandpiper and Greenshank; relative size when they are together or next to Black-winged Stilts (who are often nearby), call, size and beak-shape are also good for ID.

  2. Congratulations

    Mary-Anne Jess Sent from my iPad

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